Embracing the Spotlight. A Sunday Thoughts Link Up.
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”
“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
2 PETER 3:18
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Everybody notices us. We are the new version of the traveling circus now that Barnum and Bailey have gone by the wayside. With Charlie in his wheelchair and the twins trailing behind, we draw the eye. At the zoo more people watch us than the giraffes and in fact, you’re at risk if you don’t keep an eye on us because Jonas will run head first into you (he tends to weave like a little drunken man). Even at the PlayPlace we bring stares, and sometimes glares. Charlie’s the only kid shimmying up the slide with Jody while other kids not-so-subtly point out that this is a violation of about 5 of the 8 McDonald’s rules.
I don’t always welcome it. I can’t always bring myself to do the beauty pageant wave or nice church smile. I just want to blend in, be one of the watercolors instead of the oils. Oil and water don’t mix. Instead, we float to the top, bubbling up in people’s periphery. Thankfully, the majority of the time everyone is friendly—neighborly in their attention like mother hens. But sometimes I don’t want to be tutted over.
Easter will soon be upon us. Jesus’ clock is winding down on earth and he’s about to perform the biggest sacrifice and biggest miracle of all time. He welcomed the attention, good and bad. It was part of the plan, part of the cause, the point of the whole incarnation. People needed to stare and question and be in attendance. His celebrity status was for a purpose. He only took time outs to recharge and walk with God in gardens and solitary seas. Peter didn’t get it, not even in the final moments. Peter was used to the crowds—popularity from the sidecar. But when things got real, when darkness settled and the city hummed with whispers and accusations and danger afoot, Peter shrank. He turned from the stares and the light of the fire and the idea that he was “one of them.” He hunched away, a shadow of a man, and the rooster crowed and Jesus saw. And that was his tipping point. He’d always wanted to be the favorite…in favoring times. But the good times were ending and he would have to choose…stand up in the spotlight, even when the spotlight might lead him to jeers, persecution, and yes, death. He finally chose because Jesus saw him–as he was. After the crucifixion and resurrection, Peter took up the mantle and stood in the limelight, even if it was accompanied by stones thrown. It wasn’t about him now.
When I catch myself shrinking from the turn of so many heads in our direction at the grocery store/park/mall, I’m going to start saying a tiny prayer, a teeny tiny half sentence to remind myself to do good with this notice. I’m going to pray, “Grow in the grace…”. That’s it. That’s what Peter said, years later to the newbie Christians when he knew they too would come into the spotlight. The attention only gets heavy if it’s about me, about us and our differences from the standard family. But if the attention can be used for good, to live gracefully, it can be directed outwards and upwards. I want to display all that God has done in our lives after our infertility, after Charlie’s hard infancy, after all the diagnoses and caring for twins. In this reframing, I’m happy to toss this one to God and let everyone in the big wide open who gathers around the fire know that I am “one of them.”
Sunday Thoughts Link Up!
It’s time for another Sunday Thoughts Link-Up! I know there are many out there with wisdom that could encourage all of us. As long as it’s Biblically-based, I’d love for you to join up and then read and comment on what others have shared. Please also leave a comment here. Think of this as a Sunday morning community group that comes to you. And grab the button if you like…